The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is being replaced by a new body – the Administrative Review Tribunal – at least in part because of concerns about political stacking. 

To build public confidence in the new body, the government should ensure a best-practice appointments process, at arms- length from political interference.

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A 2022 Grattan report recommended a better appointments process for all public boards, tribunals, and statutory appointments.

The Administrative Review Tribunal Bill 2023 implements some elements of our recommended appointments process, notably requiring all positions to be advertised. 

But the Bill could be improved by requiring independent panels to assess candidates, specifying guardrails for ministerial discretion, and including oversight by a Public Appointments Commissioner. 

Australia needs greater transparency and oversight of its public appointments system to build public confidence that governments are appointing the best candidates. 

A best-practice appointments process for all public board, tribunal, and statutory appointments would reduce jobs for mates, improve our institutions, and ultimately enhance Australia’s political culture.

Kate Griffiths

Chief of Staff and Budgets and Government Deputy Program Director
Kate Griffiths is Grattan’s Chief of Staff and the Deputy Program Director of the Budgets and Government Program. Kate completed her Masters in Science at the University of Oxford as a John Monash Scholar and holds an Honours degree in Science from the Australian National University.